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Ayatollah Khamenei: Americans must leave the region

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Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that the United States’ “corruptive presence” in the region must come to an end.

“This region does not accept presence of the United States. The people in the region and the regional governments rising from the people do not accept this issue,” he said during a speech in Qom.

The remarks by the Leader came a few hours after Iran fired dozens of ballistic missiles at two U.S. military bases in Iraq in retaliation to the U.S. assassination of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3.

Top Iranian political and military figures had vowed “harsh revenge” for the martyrdom of General Soleimani.

“A slap was delivered last night,” the Leader remarked.

However, Ayatollah Khamenei said, such military actions are not enough and the U.S. forces must leave the region.

“The issue of revenge is another issue. They were slapped last night which is another issue. Such military actions will not be enough. The United States’ corruptive presence in the region must come to an end. They have brought war, sedition, destruction, and also destruction of infrastructures to the region.”

He added that the U.S. has acted in this way wherever it has entered.

“They insist on extending this corruption and destruction to Iran. Their insistence on negotiations is preliminary to such presence and interference,” the Leader pointed out.

Ayatollah Khamenei added that the people are duty bound to know the enemy.

“We should not make mistake in knowing the enemy. Do not say that we all know. Enemy is global arrogance and the United States. However, comprehensive efforts are being made to change the people’s opinion through complicated methods of propaganda,” the Leader stated.

Ayatollah Khamenei noted that animosity of the enemies is not something temporary.

“This animosity is inherent and constant and they hit us whenever they can. To counter them, we have to empower ourselves. We have to be empowered in areas of military, security, politics and economy to prevent enemy from hitting us,” he said.

He noted, “It is wrong to think that they leave animosity when we back down.”

‘Martyrdom of Gen. Soleimani shows Islamic Revolution is alive’

Ayatollah Khamenei also said that martyrdom of General Soleimani showed that the Islamic Revolution is alive.

“His martyrdom showed the world that the revolution is alive,” he said.

He said, “They wanted to pretend that the revolution in Iran is dead… However, his martyrdom showed that the revolution is alive.”

The Leader added the enemies tried to portray General Soleimani as a terrorist.

Soleimani was considered a legendary commander against terrorist groups, including Daesh (ISIS), in Iraq and Syria.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei said, “The United States is unfair and liar and we cannot attach value to its words.”

Pointing to mass participation of the people in funeral procession of General Soleimani in various cities, the Leader said, “The people slapped them

[the U.S.]

in the mouth.”

“You saw what happened in Tehran and other cities.” 

The huge participation of people in the funeral processions for Soleimani in the cities of Ahvaz, Mashhad, Tehran, Qom and Kerman were highly surprising.

The massive crowding during the funeral procession in Kerman, the general’s hometown, 59 people were killed and many more injured in a stampede.

“I am upset about that bitter incident in Kerman and I express condolences to the families of the victims,” the Leader remarked.

Source: Tehran Times

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Finance

European Innovation Council announces new wave of start-up champions

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The European Commission’s European Innovation Council has selected 65 innovative start-ups and SMEs to receive €363 million of funding for breakthrough innovations. Each company will receive a combination of grant financing and equity investment of up to €17 million to develop and scale up their ground-breaking innovations in healthcare, digital technologies, energy, biotechnology, space and other. This is the first batch of companies that will be funded under the fully-fledged European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “The EIC Accelerator is a unique European funding instrument of the European Innovation Council. It supports the development of top-class innovations through crowding-in private investors and offers a portfolio of services to support their scaling-up. With the European Innovation Council we aim to bring Europe to the forefront of innovation and new technologies, by investing in new solutions for the health, environmental and societal challenges we are facing.”

The companies were selected following a new two-step process, introduced under Horizon Europe. Applications are rigorously assessed by external experts and followed by an interview with a jury of experienced investors and entrepreneurs. Among the companies selected are:

  • Dutch Sensius BV that developed a thermotherapy system to treat the head and neck cancer without negative side effects;
  • French Alice & Bob that invented a new type of self-correcting quantum hardware to build the world’s first fault-tolerant commercial quantum computers;
  • Lithuanian UAB INOVATYVI MEDICINA that developed a smart, sensory, tele-operated robotic system, which allows an endovascular procedure to be performed without exposure to harmful X-rays;
  • Norwegian Bluegrove AS that introduced the most advanced salmon welfare monitoring and prediction solution to take care of fish welfare.

The 65 successful companies are established in 16 countries. The demand for equity financing through the new EIC Fund was particularly high, with 60 out of the 65 companies. This means that €227 million out of the total €363 million are expected to be in the form of investment component.

Background

The EIC Accelerator offers start-ups and SMEs grants of up to €2.5 million combined with equity investments through the EIC Fund ranging from €0.5 to €15 million. In addition to financial support, all projects benefit from a range of Business Acceleration Services that provide access to leading expertise, corporates, investors and ecosystem actors. 

The EIC was launched in March 2021 as a major novelty under the Horizon Europe programme, and following a successful pilot phase between 2018 and 2020. It has a budget of over €10 billion of which approximately €1.1 billion is available in 2021 for the EIC Accelerator. The majority is open to breakthrough innovations in any field, while €495 million is earmarked for Strategic Health and Digital technologies and Green Deal solutions.

There were two rounds of direct equity investments under the EIC Pilot earlier this year, in January and in June, with 111 highly innovative start-ups and SMEs receiving more than €500 million to scale up breakthrough innovations. Among them there were two ‘unicorn’ companies.

A new start-up friendly application process has been introduced this year, under Horizon Europe, where companies can submit their ideas at any time for an immediate fast assessment. Successful candidates are invited to prepare a full application with the help of free business coaching. The full applications are then evaluated at regular cut-off dates approximately every 3 months. Since March over 4,000 start-ups and SMEs have sent their ideas, of which 801 presented full applications to the first cut-off on 16 June 2021 and a further 1098 to the second cut-off on 6 October, which are now being assessed. The results of this second batch of EIC Accelerator companies will be announced by the end of the year and the next cut-off date is expected in the beginning of 2022.

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Environment

Greenpeace Africa reacts to DRC President’s decision to suspend illegal logging concessions

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forest

The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi, ordered on Friday, October 15th, the suspension of all dubious logging concessions, including the 6 granted in September 2020. Greenpeace Africa, one of the civil society organizations that denounced these concessions, applauds the decision taken by the Head of State and encourages him to remain vigilant and ensure its effective execution by Deputy Prime Minister Ms. Eve Bazaiba.

Greenpeace Africa reiterates its call for maintaining the moratorium on new industrial logging concessions to prevent a human rights and climate catastrophe. This logging sector, characterized by bad governance, favors corruption and remains out of touch with the socio-economic needs of the Congolese people and the climate crisis we live in.

Irène Wabiwa Betoko, Head of the International Congo Basin Forest Project of Greenpeace: “The decision of H.E. President Tshisekedi against the illegal actions of former Minister Nyamugabo sends an important message to the Congolese people and their government. It is also a red light for the plans of Ms. Ève Bazaiba, current Minister of the Environment, to open a highway to deforestation by multinational logging companies through lifting the moratorium on new industrial concessions.”

The President asks to “Suspend all questionable contracts pending the outcome of an audit and report them to the government at the next cabinet meeting.” Greenpeace Africa maintains that the review of illegalities in the forest sector must be transparent, independent, and open to comments from civil society organizations.

Ms. Wabiwa adds that “Both the protection of the rights of Congolese peoples and the success of COP26 require that the moratorium on granting new forest titles be strengthened. We again call on President Tshisekedi to strengthen the 2005 presidential decree to extend the moratorium.”

Ms. Wabiwa concludes that “instead of allowing new avenues of destruction, the DRC needs a permanent forest protection plan, taking into account the management by the local and indigenous populations who live there and depend on them for their survival.”

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Tech News

Standards & Digital Transformation – Good Governance in a Digital Age

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In celebration of World Standards Day 2021, celebrated on 14 October every year, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is pleased to announce the launch of a brochure, “Standards and Digital Transformation: Good Governance in the Digital Age”.

In the spirit of this year’s World Standards Day theme “Shared Vision for a Better World”, the brochure provides insights into the key drivers of the digital transformation and its implications for sustainable development, particularly people, prosperity and planet. Noting the rapid pace of change of the digital transformation, with the COVID-19 pandemic serving as an unanticipated accelerator, the brochure highlights the role of standards in digital transformation governance. It further considers the principles necessary for guiding the collaborative development of standards in the digital technology landscape to ensure that the technologies remain human-centered and aligned to the goals of sustainability.

This year’s World Standards Day theme highlights the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) representing a shared vision for peace and prosperity, for people and planet. Every SDG is a call for action, but we can only get there if we work together, and international standards offer practical solutions we can all stand behind.

This brochure is a summary of a publication set to be released in November 2021.

Download it here.

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